Kintsugi or the art of resilience

Bildschirmfoto 2015-09-20 um 19.59.14
When a friend posted this picture on her timeline today, it reminded me of the Japanese art of Kintsugi. It is the art to repair broken pottery with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver or platinum (a method similar to the maki-e technique)  (cfr. more on Wikipedia).
Bildschirmfoto 2015-12-09 um 09.23.31


“The vicissitudes of existence over time, to which all humans are susceptible, could not be clearer than in the breaks, the knocks, and the shattering to which ceramic ware too is subject. This poignancy or aesthetic of existence has been known in Japan as mono no aware, a compassionate sensitivity, or perhaps identification with, [things] outside oneself.” Christy Bartlett, Flickwerk The Aesthetics of Mended Japanese Ceramics (cfr. mono no aware “the pathos of things”).
I used this image in a talk about Resilience a while ago and I think it is very powerful because it teaches the most important strategy to overcome hardship: the positive outlook, the optimism that should never diminish. The faith in the fact that in every difficult situation we can gain a positive perspective. We may need help with this, but there always is a way to make it become even more beautiful and precious than before.
We can’t change things from happening, we can only change the way we respond and deal with them.
 “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one the most responsive to change” (Charles Darwin)

Categories: Culture/Traditions

4 replies »

  1. This arrives at the right time for me. The latest change in my life came not of my choosing but by force of circumstances. I find it very difficult to adapt. The weight of aging also contributes to my difficulties.
    In my life I always loved change, but this time it is doing me in… Thanks for this encouraging post. I shall reflect on it


    • Vera, I’m sorry to hear this. Change can be hard to accept, I know. It’s easily said that “there must be a nice side on everything”, especially when that change makes us sad and hurt. When we choose change, we are usually ready for it. When change is imposed by others or by circumstances, we usually are not ready and this is what it makes it so difficult to accept. But we have still the opportunity to grow with that change: we know by experience that we’ve overcome hardships before, we dealt with them and we’re still here. Adapting with change we didn’t choose takes time and a lot of convincing and finding a way to look at our situation in a way that makes it less painful. – I really hope you can find the silver lining (or the golden lining) in your change.
      Ti auguro di cuore ogni bene, Vera! xxx

      Liked by 1 person

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